“So much of this is about representation. We have enough people in our communities who could be role models and international icons, but we don’t all get equal access because of systems of white supremacy. To some Black people, Cosby is too valuable to lose. What I’m saying in the film is: We don’t have to lose all of it, if we confront all of it.”
-W. Kamau Bell, episode 263 of Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso
Comedian and documentary host W. Kamau Bell has built a career out of having difficult conversations. Today, he returns to the show with his latest project, the four-part docuseries We Need to Talk About Cosby.
We begin with Kamau’s reluctance to talk about Bill Cosby (7:35), whose legacy became something he decided to publicly grapple with (8:30) and examine chronologically through this piece (10:17). Kamau speaks on his approach to the series (13:10), the integral women who helped create it (14:40), and a formative United Shades of America moment that transformed the way he encounters and tells painful stories (16:24).
On the back half, we unpack Cosby’s impact on Black history and representation (24:00), how he changed the stunt industry (27:53), a philosophy on truth that became embedded in the documentary (34:38), and how the project permanently altered Kamau’s course (35:04).
- Watch We Need to Talk About Cosby on Showtime.
- Follow W. Kamau Bell on Instagram and Twitter.
- See United Shades of America on CNN.
- Hear our last conversation with Kamau in 2020.
- For more, find recommended talks with Questlove, Janicza Bravo, Hasan Minhaj, Carol Burnett, Werner Herzog, Steven Soderbergh, Larry Wilmore, and Gloria Steinem.
- Order your Talk Easy mug in cream and navy or our vinyl record with Fran Lebowitz.
Illustrations by: Krishna Shenoi.